We’re going to need bigger guns

Posted by unknownworlds 15 years ago

Natural Selection 2 is set a few years after Natural Selection so we want to make the aliens, technologies and environments reflect this passage of time. At the same time, we need to preserve the original feel.

We made concepts for the Natural Selection marine, aliens and alien view models, but not the marine weapons. As a result they didn’t have a very cohesive art style. This time around we’re making sure we don’t make the same mistake and are spending plenty of time thinking about the weapons and making sure they are appealing, unified and distinct.

These light machine gun concepts are by Nate Wolcott and are scanned right out of his sketch book. Normally these are not the type of concepts we’d publicly release since this is only the first stage of several that concepts go through, but we thought people would enjoy getting a peek at this stage of the development process.

These sketches are done in a really rough style so that the concept artist can quickly get a bunch of ideas on paper that we can then review and critique. In addition to these drawings, we’ve got a bunch of additional pages of similar drawings for other familiar Natural Selection weapons (and one that is not so familiar). As you can see, each thumbnail has a number next to it that we use to refer to the individual designs during discussions. Typically in these discussions we’ll pick out out a few designs we really like, identify those that don’t fit in with our concept of the NS style, and then either do more sketches or start building.

With these particular sketches we felt that most of the designs worked well and would be acceptable for the LMG in Natural Selection. Our goal is awesome though, not acceptable, and main critique was that the designs don’t really have a distinctive style to them that allows you to look at them and immediately know that it belongs in the Natural Selection universe (and not in one of the thousands of other FPSs that have a sub machine gun). One aspect of the marine/human style in NS and NS2 is the incorporation of subtle organic elements into the design, so we asked Nate do another round of sketches that incorporate these themes more. These are currently in progress, so perhaps we’ll post those in an upoming blog.

On the topic of organic influences in the design, here’s another cool concept piece by Cory Strader where you can see a lot of that at play. This ranges from the explicit, like the leg-like structures on the machine, to more the subtle metal plates that fit together like scales, to the merely suggestive like the hanging wires and tubes.

We’re not sure if a machine this scale will work right in an NS environment, but the design sure is cool and images like this provide a lot of ideas and inspiration for the guys building the assets for what we’re calling the biomech art set. More on that later.

Some of you may have noticed we stuck a lower resolution version of this concept on our new Natural Selection 2 MySpace page last week. We haven’t quite figured out what we’re going to be doing with the MySpace page yet, but I’m pretty into the idea of having imaginary friends.

Kudos to anyone who recognizes the bad sci-fi source for today’s blog title.

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